THE Chinese community in Lae took the city by surprise on Sunday by staging the traditional lion dance to commemorate the start of the Chinese New Year.
The annual celebration, which is normally staged on New Year’s Day, had to be postponed because of threats against Asian-owned businesses.
The lion dance was staged in front of more than 30 Chinese-owned businesses in Lae city.
Several hundred local onlookers followed the lion dance troupe around the city.
There was no pre-publicity about the dance as organisers chose to keep it a surprise.
It took the dance troupe a whole day to complete its rounds to premises that had booked the “lions”.
Onlookers who watched the dances said the number of young Chinese men who would normally perform the dances had dwindled over the recent years resulting in young Papua New Guineans being trained to perform the dance.
Chinese businessman Sir Henry Chow, who owns the Lae Biscuit Company, was with the dance troupe throughout the day.
In his company premises, Sir Henry hosted a lunch for the lion dance troupe during which he introduced his family’s own black lion.
Sir Henry explained that the black lion was the most ferocious of all the lions and seen as the “pride of the pride”.
The Chinese kicked off their new year with traditional family reunion dinners.